USC's hiring of Lane Kiffin in 2010 drew ire from the NCAA infractions committee. It may have played a role in the Trojans receiving sanctions relating to improper benefits received by running back Reggie Bush about half a decade prior.
Multiple members of the committee mentioned the Kiffin hire as they attempted to settle on a penalty, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times on previously sealed documents released by the NCAA. The NCAA had tried to keep these documents sealed, to no avail.
Committee member Rodney Uphoff criticized the hire and said the Trojans "need a wake-up call that doing things the wrong way will have serious consequences," according to the Los Angeles Times. Committee member Roscoe Howard also mentioned the hire in an email, saying the lack of institutional control penalty was "a very easy call for me."
USC vs. the NCAA
The complete timeline
NCAA sanctions cost the 2004 Trojans their national championship trophies, Reggie Bush his Heisman, and running backs coach Todd McNair much of his career, in addition to hurting four years of USC football. But the story's not over. <span class="m-entry-admin-button" data-remote-admin-entry-type="button" data-remote-admin-entry-id="1008123"></span>
USC vs. the NCAA
A previous NCAA investigation into Tennessee found that Kiffin and his staff made improper phone calls to recruits during his one-year stint with the Vols, even after he was warned. Kiffin, now the offensive coordinator at Alabama, also picked up a failure to monitor charge because of improper visits to recruits made by his staff.
The documents -- released as part of a defamation lawsuit former USC running backs coach Todd McNair filed against the NCAA -- went beyond Kiffin. When discussing the case against McNair, Uphoff compared the case to that of Terry Nichols and the Oklahoma City bombing trial.
"There is no question that the evidence in this case is much stronger than against [Terry] Nichols in the OKC case," Uphoff reportedly wrote.
Bush also drew criticism from Uphoff.
"Accordingly, we should hold him accountable," Uphoff wrote per the LA Times. "Given the limited powers of the NCAA enforcement staff we emasculate them if we allow ex-athletes to refuse to cooperate and suffer no adverse inference from a failure to supply information under these circumstances."